Thongchai Named 2004 Johnnie Walker Asian Player of the Year

Apr 24, 2005, 01:00 ET from JOHNNIE WALKER

    BEIJING, April 24/Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee has
 received yet another accolade in his glowing career when he was named as the
 2004 Johnnie Walker Asian Golfer of the Year on Saturday night.
     Thongchai, a former paratrooper, was honoured at the Johnnie Walker
 Classic Gala Dinner held at the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square.
 England's Luke Donald was also presented the Johnnie Walker Young Player of
 the Year award.
     It was the second time that Thongchai, who grew up playing golf with a
 make-shift three iron stuck on a bamboo stick, has received the prestigious
 title.  He won it the first time in 2002 after becoming the Asian number one
 in the previous season.
     In 2004, the Thai star enjoyed his best season yet when he won twice,
 including the Carlsberg Malaysian Open which made him the first Thai winner on
 The European Tour.  With five other top-10s in nine starts, the Thai claimed
 his second Asian Tour Order of Merit title in four years with record winnings
 of US$381,929.
     "I am honoured to receive this award again.  Some of the past winners
 include great names like Zhang Lian-wei, Choi Kyung-ju, Arjun Atwal and
 Boonchu Ruangkit and I am proud to be in their company," said Thongchai, who
 entered the final round of the Johnnie Walker Classic in tied 12th place after
 a third round 64.
     "My year's highlight in 2004 was probably winning in Malaysia as I made a
 hole in one on the final day."
     The selection panel recognised Thongchai's efforts in Europe as well last
 season where he finished 43rd on The European Tour Order of Merit in his
 rookie year on the continent.  Thongchai's memorable 2004 season also saw him
 earning invites from golf legend Jack Nicklaus to play in last year's Memorial
 Tournament and also the US PGA Championship, the year's final Major.
     The 27-year-old Donald, presently ranked 13th in the world, was honoured
 after a tremendous season in 2004 where he won twice on The European Tour.  He
 was also a member of the victorious European Ryder Cup team and capped his
 season in style by partnering Paul Casey to help England lift the WGC-World
 Cup title in Seville, Spain.
     About The Johnnie Walker Classic
     The Johnnie Walker Classic is more than just a golf tournament.  Along
 with a week of official parties, Johnnie Walker will be raising money for the
 "Keep Walking" Thailand Tsunami fund and will be promoting messages
 encouraging people to drink in moderation.  This includes the 15th hole, on
 which the signage carries messages about responsible drinking.
     For further information, please contact Burson Marsteller at the Johnnie
 Walker Classic press centre at tel: +86 10 8019 1305 or fax: +86 10 8019 1370.
 Also, visit for live scoring and .
      Polka Yu
      Tel:    +86-10-6505-6363 ext. 224
      Fax:    +86-10-6505-6380
      Mobile: +86-1355-2481-824
      Holly Hu
      Tel:    +86-21-5403-2121 ext. 171
      Fax:    +86-21-5403-1646
      Mobile: +86-1376-1683-747
      Crystal Zhou
      Tel:    +86-20-3877-1820 ext. 223
      Fax:    +86-20-3877-1815
      Mobile: +86-1363-2340-220